Facial recognition use by police may be experiencing a severe public backlash, but when combined with emotion detection, it presents an appealing advance for market research.

Emotion detection and recognition startup Jinglz has developed a platform to gauge viewer reaction to adverts, with its most recent product, EmotionTrac, designed to measure the emotional reaction of viewers to video content, with applications across political, entertainment and consumer product advertising.

It claims to offer improvements on traditional focus-group market research, which can be marred by dishonesty, but also provides an option during social distancing, when putting a group of strangers in a room together is not a viable approach.

Instead, customers are provided with second-by-second data on how research participants – who access the content online – have reacted to it, enabling them to tweak their adverts accordingly.

It builds on Jinglz’s previous product VeriView, which used facial recognition to determine if viewers were actually engaging with mobile ads.

“When we first began development on our VeriView ad technology, it was all about using facial detection to verify when a user is truly engaging with mobile ad content,” said CEO Aaron Itzkowitz.

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“But we always knew that there was a next step, and that was to analyse a user’s facial expressions to recognise their emotional response to what they’re seeing.”

Jinglz seeks funding through open public offering for emotion detection facial recognition

In order to raise the funds to market and sell EmotionTrac, Jinglz has launched an open public offering through Netcapital.

Although a less common approach than an initial public offering or seed funding, this is an SEC-regulated offering where both accredited and non-accredited investors can buy shares.

Jinglz has listed itself with a valuation of $20.8m, and is selling shares at $1.50 each, with a $99 minimum investment.

“Our offering is a chance to invest in a company at an early stage that is pursuing a market with massive potential,” said Itzkowitz.

Read more: Amazon facial recognition police ban boosts stock prices, but is it enough?